Monday, March 31, 2008

Changes And Supporting McCain

I unsurprisingly got a comment about my writing and expressing surprise at my support for McCain. As I’ve said before, over the last several years, my ideology hasn’t changed much. But, my disposition has shifted and the conditions we face have changed dramatically. Here is my response:


I'm sure it was on Kerry's One Mom Blog that I saw a comment of yours. I still look in on a handful of Blogs that I watched for months. I've hardly watched my own, in March. Is this mental decompression? There are still things going on in my head. I think I'll turn to a more personal focus on my perspective on life as a person with MS who spends a lot of time analyzing socio-philosophical questions. I don't have the popular platform of a public office or a media program. I don't even have an academic title to flaunt as credentials. I went to graduate school and finished my coursework in the early 80's, but I started working before I finished my essay. In case anyone asks, you can make money as a salesman that you can't make as a student or even as a teacher unless you get a Ph.D. and a good university position. I was at Western Kentucky, not Harvard or Stanford. (Speaking of marketing credentials) :-)

But plainly, I do have a unique position as a philosophically oriented person with multiple sclerosis. It has been interesting watching what has happened in my body and my subjective experience, as well as looking at society from a perspective not largely occupied with labor or an office. There are a lot of people with MS who don't get enough input about the physical and social effects that one might face, and most people have a friend or family member with MS. That's a fairly large potential audience, and their attention might (hardly incidentally) be directed to some social questions.

Speaking of that, I believe I mentioned that I was a MAJOR McCain critic. In the 2000 election cycle, of 14 original Republican candidates, McCain was my LEAST favorite. I called him "philosophically incoherent."

But as I said, I've come to recognize his unique virtues and our unique situation. Especially given that those unique virtues include a gracious and well-meaning disposition, when it comes to those philosophical questions, we should befriend and encourage him, not scorn and repel him. If he disappoints conservatives, that should be all his doing, not ours.

But, the other virtues include a thoroughgoing patriotism relative to foreign policy. And also critically important TODAY is his record and resolve against extravagant government spending. This is no longer a future concern: the entitlements tidal wave hits over the next ten years. For instance, S.S. disability is getting difficult to be approved, because bureaucrats see that there is no money. The plain truth is that there are very few politicians with the resolve McCain will have about controlling spending. That's why Tom Coburn supports McCain. In the statewide constituency pork barrel-prone Senate, Coburn is the closest thing you will see to a "Dr. No."

Just yesterday for instance, McCain said that it isn't the federal government's job to bail out businesses that made bad loans. He's right. This is just the umpteenth manifestation of the endemic pathology of the federal government that subsidizes failure and penalizes success. Of course, this invites more failure and less success. We need to support McCain for these literal VITAL reasons, and encourage and counsel him where we disagree. I think I'll post THIS.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why Conservatives MUST Support John McCain

I have been resting from my Blog since Mike Huckabee withdrew from the campaign for the Republican nomination on March 4th, after John McCain secured enough delegates to clinch the nomination. I must soon be about changing many of the objects on the Blog, including revising its primary objectives. There are always current events I want to discuss and in fact, some specific writing that I want to focus on.

But for right now, it is a priority that I establish my resolve to support John McCain for the fall election and state why I believe this objective is critical. My feelings are independent of but unsurprisingly consistent with Mike Huckabee's expressed intention to direct his infinitely greater influence to the same end. With respect to me, some may find my disposition odd, given my history of dissent and criticism of conservative drift in The Republican Party. Perhaps I am a little different, but I certainly think the immediate situation is a LOT different and I will explain why I think so.

It is important first, to briefly explain my own background. I am a lifelong conservative who began reading conservative thinkers and ideals as a teenager in the 1970’s. After developing multiple sclerosis in the 1990’s, I became an activist participant in Republican politics and the convention process. I went to the 1998 Republican Party of Texas convention armed with flyers about my problems with John McCain. Even today, on most of the standard conservative catalog of McCain infidelities, I may generally agree. And in fact, I declined to support or even vote for George W. Bush, whom at the time I saw as only marginally better than McCain. I didn't and don't dislike Bush. I just thought he was not constrained by sound conservative principle.

The profligate spending and federal government usurpation of the past six years have born that concern out. But looking back, perhaps Bush was more politically constrained. What has become clear is that on the things that he strongly believes, John McCain has been an uncommonly resolute United States Senator, including on urgent issues on which we agree. And, he has run his campaign this year in an uncommonly civil and gracious fashion. Let me explain why a few of those points of resolve and agreement rise categorically above any list of disagreements:

First, all of us other than some Ron Paul enthusiasts understand that on the primary duty of the federal government and the president, defending the American people and their interest, John McCain is not only with us but most assertively so and most prepared for the responsibility. America’s physical defense is of course, constitutionally established as a priority for the federal government generally and the chief executive specifically, who is the commander-in-chief of America’s armed forces. And in a world that technology has brought close and in which America is the technological and military supreme power, defending American principles of humanity is a duty the neglect of which is a human dereliction. As we know, today, these concerns are not incidental but pressing priorities.

Secondly, there is another great crisis upon us that some have warned of but many Americans seem to have slept through the approach of. For decades now, we have had warnings of the long-term insolvency in government’s accrued liabilities versus reasonably expected revenues. But, when plans to devise a correction have been raised, political rhetoric has killed the effort. In fact we have only continued to widen the shortfall. Well guess what? We are only barely talking about a future problem, now.

For the next decade the entitlement liabilities will devour the disbursements of the federal budget. Discretionary expenditures will be cut. And the gap won’t be near filled. The yawning debt will be expanded. New taxes, benefit cuts, and accelerated currency printing (i.e., rapid inflation/devaluation of money) will be the only options to try to meet the liability. Unless a dramatic change is made to boost productivity and revenue (a massive tax reform – like The Fair Tax plan) is implemented, all three of these supposedly more modest solutions would probably be tried. But, the net effect would be to make matters worse. John McCain has the resolve to resist these efforts.

Whatever course is taken to infuse the system, America will have to stop the bleeding; that is, the spending. Say what we might about John McCain, there has not been a more resolute actor in Washington against budgetary extravagance. Under the Bush administration, a Republican majority expanded government at a rate not seen for forty years, since Lyndon Johnson and a Democratic Congress. Most dramatically, these Republicans greatly increased the Medicare entitlement that along with Social Security was already long-term insolvent. John McCain was among the few who opposed this action. There probably is not a more stark demonstration of why fiscal conservatives like Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn and former Senator and economist Phil Gramm are enthusiastically supporting McCain.

Thirdly, we are looking at long-term social imprudence prevailed upon the country if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton appoint the next generation of federal jurists, including 2-4 Supreme Court justices. The folly will be broad and deep, but for example, the social calumny of “legal” abortion will be guaranteed until at least the middle of this century. I always emphasize that, as hard as it is to believe, the most tragic victims of this would not be the innocent lives lost over what will have been 60-80 years. God has always dealt with and will continue to handle the deaths of innocents. They are a class that will bypass this vale of tears and be delivered directly to perfect justice.

However, as usual, the true sufferers and victims will be our children that have to live in a society that has assimilated this most fundamental and grave selfish incivility. Why will neighbors and commercial relationships be afforded a respect that is not held up even for our own offspring? Relatively speaking, dog-eat-dog sounds like an innocuous social standard.

For all of last year, until he withdrew on March 4th, I was a Mike Huckabee supporter. I studied Mike Huckabee’s record and campaign for over a year, and found the supposedly “conservative” criticisms of him to be misrepresentation. But, most remarkable about his candidacy was his distinctive positive and engaging approach, which often disarmed and engaged even liberals who disagreed with his policy conclusions, but trusted Huckabee’s honesty and sincerity, which was particularly ironic in that those were precisely the thoughtful qualities that many conservatives were suspicious of. In defending him, I often found myself oddly cast as a “liberal,” just like he was.

But, John McCain conducted a campaign that was likewise civil and genuine. For the sake of the nation and an American model for an elevated disposition, it is critical that conservatives rally around John McCain and engage him by putting their concerns before this genuine and resolute American patriot. Let’s help him with everything we have and ask him to help with our sincere and noble concerns for America.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Pros And Cons Of John McCain

I’m anxious to hang it up for today, but I wanted to say at least a little about John McCain. Understand: Tuesday is the Texas primary, I already voted early for Mike Huckabee, and will promote Huckabee and his ideas in the Texas convention process. Today, I was cited polls supposedly showing a poll margin of twenty or more percentage points for John McCain over Mike Huckabee. But, that will not happen. One direction or another, I think the difference will be single digits. I have a number of reasons to say that, but time will soon tell. As an example, Texas Governor Rick Perry has endorsed John McCain. And depending on turnout, that should prove a net (additional) negative for John McCain. A large turnout of relatively casual observers may favor McCain. But, the greater percentage of the vote that is more activist Republicans, the better it will bode for Mike Huckabee. Though it is March in Texas, I wish it would snow.

I have been critical of John McCain for over a decade. In 2000 when asked whether I liked McCain I said, “I loved my grandfather, but I wouldn’t recommend him for president.” It has become only plainer to me that, especially as he has aged, John McCain is a sober and well-intentioned human being with a substantially undefined philosophical compass. It is ironic that his philosophically brutish and constitutionally audacious lunge at tamping the influence of money in Washington, the infamous McCain-Feingold, is now nipping at his posterior as a presidential candidate. And that is hardly the beginning of his infidelities to The Constitution and misunderstanding of some basic inclinations of human nature.

But all of that said, should Republicans fail to deliver the miracle of fidelity of principle that give the nomination to Mike Huckabee and McCain is the nominee, barring an outrageous act that surely he would be warned away from , I would support McCain as I never did George W. Bush’s presidential bids. And by the way, in case you haven’t read it before in the past several years, I’m not mad at George Bush. I just think he is ill-equipped to lead or steer America out of the aimless ideological drift in which the Reagan administration was a hiccup.

When Bush was elected in 2000, I said, “Leviathan gets a night manager,” and history has shown that to be an accurate assessment. I have also said that with a Republican Congress, Al Gore could not have succeeded in expanding the federal government and its expenditures as Bush has, and I sincerely believe that. But though hardly perfectly, Bush has succeeded in giving us marginally better federal judges and has been resolute about the primary federal government responsibility of defending America and basic humanity. And in the face of strong pop-cultural headwinds, I must say.

I think that John McCain will be equally or more resolute and apt, in that regard, and will do an starkly superior job of restraining federal spending that in fact now threatens economic calamity. I also think that as an older man, he will be more sober about reckless judicial possibilities and the social pathologies that have settled into American culture.

Of course, it will make a great difference to me if McCain should choose a more philosophically meticulous running-mate to provide counsel to his administration. Though he is advised against it on left and right, I would be greatly more animated about a McCain ticket if Mike Huckabee were on it. And I believe it is true that this way or another, McCain would need to animate the social conservatives who inject the legwork and elbow grease that drives Republican campaigns and pulled the Republican Party out of the congressional shadows almost 30 years ago. Huckabee is the obvious choice in that regard. He understands the drift of American principle. And, it would be revolutionary and unprecedented productive if Huckabee could sell McCain on the virtues and prospects of The Fair Tax. That’s my two cents worth.

But today, I still hope and pray for a Huckabee victory in Texas on Tuesday, and that “miracle” of a brokered convention. It seems to me, that McCain and Huckabee could distinguish two factions of the Republican Party and in the spirit that they have exercised all along, unite them and the country to successes that neither the party or the country have seen in a long time.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Huckabee Discusses Evolution And Gay Marriage With Tyra Banks

Perhaps you should prepare to shake your head and wonder more at the persistence of skepticism about evolution. But, I find it highly questionable. And, it isn't as though I'm a semi-illiterate who has not read the relevant material. I am confident that I am more familiar with the material and the thinking on both sides of the question than over 99% of the American public.

If I found the evidence for macro-evolution across species from a common ancestry) at all compelling, I would tweak my habits of interpreting data and go on. I understand the psychological force of the consensus of confession in the popular American culture and the consequential majority of textbooks, but I don't find the evidence compelling at all.

The evolutionist confession is not one driven by the data, as often suggested. It is not a scientific (empirical) conclusion. It is a philosophic predisposition largely driven by the force of consensus.

Given the pervasiveness of that disposition in the culture, I believe it is essential that the theory be taught in schools. An American who doesn’t understand that is uneducated and culturally illiterate in a very critical way. But, they should teach the details of the metaphysical belief in macroevolution, while maintaining the bare modesty that recognizes that it IS, in fact, a metaphysical confession and not a "scientific" conclusion (a "fact")

I also voted for Huckabee. He is simply the most able and thoughtful candidate to have appeared in the contest. And, I mean "thoughtful" in both senses of the term: in terms of ideas and in terms of consideration and engagement of the broad spectrum of Americans.

I disagree with amending The Constitution of the United States on marriage, though. Not because I think the institution by the state of "gay marriage" is a good idea: I don't. I think rather, because I think the federal government ought to have nothing to do with it. If we concede that the federal government has the jurisdiction to define marriage one way today, we concede that it has the jurisdiction to define marriage another way, tomorrow. Governments don't determine what marriage is. But, let anyone, with some modesty about how often and how much it may change, determine to whom they may assign the benefits of personal relationship, relative to benefits, contracts, etc.

I'll get to John McCain, next.